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What lessons did Japan learn from the Battle of Lake Khasan

Liberal Arts in Russia. 2016. Vol. 5. No. 6. Pp. 554-564.
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Kasahara K.
St. Petersburg State University
7-9 Universitetskaya Embankment, 199034 Saint Petersburg, Russia


The article is focused on one of the first biggest armed conflicts between Japan and Soviet Union, battle of lake Khasan, which took place in July, 31 - August, 11 1938. The author analyses the battle of lake Khasan from the perspective of Japanese troops, which draw some conclusions from the conflict. The author considers them as the “lessons that Japan learned”. In particular, the merits and drawbacks of the Japanese army’s actions were analyzed. Drawbacks include problems with supplies and equipment for army, command’s uncoordinated action resulted in disability of Japanese aviation to participate in that armed conflict. Among the merits, strong spirit of the Japanese troops and their capacity to seize the initiative in battle can be named. The other merits were use of the different tactics to destroy enemy’s weapons in the rear of the battlefield, heroism of the sappers, who fought face-to-face against tanks. On the whole, the findings of the Japanese military coincided with an information taken from G. S. Lyushkov (in 1938 NKVD chief in the Far East), who flew to Japan trying to escape Stalin’s Great Purge and who gave a lot of valuable information regarding the Soviet army to Japan. It should be noted that, on the one hand, the Russian historical science looks at the battle of lake Khasan as a victory of the USSR, on the other hand, in Japan historians are not inclined to believe that this armed conflict ended up with Japan’s defeat. It is believed that the USSR won primarily through the excellence in human resources and well-equipped troops, as well as due to the imperial decree on the prohibition of attacks.


  • • battle of Lake Khasan
  • • Soviet army
  • • Japanese army
  • • Kwantung army
  • • Japanese Korean army
  • • G. S. Lyushkov
  • • M. Makino
  • • S. Itagaki
  • • materials of Japanese archives


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